Derek Webb has a new album out, and it comes with a bit of controversy. BeliefNet.com reports the following:
‘Derek Webb’s new album, Stockholm Syndrome, will be released in September in two versions: a clean and explicit version.
‘The controversy surrounds the lyrics to one of the songs, “What Matters More,” in which Webb says apparently the word “sh*t”. In typical Derek Webb fashion, he’s used a bit of shock value to make a point and in the process made his label a little nervous. (And used it all to promote the album.)‘
The album is available as a digital download right now (see here). As reported, the song “What Matters More” does have the aforementioned obscenity in it (and another one not mentioned in the BeliefNet article). In my view, however, the two obscenities are not nearly as troubling as the overall message of the song. The song lampoons Christians who are more concerned about the moral status of homosexuality than they are about the tragedy of world hunger. Webb argues that “what matters most” is the “50,000 people who are dyin’ today” (presumably of hunger, if the 50k number indeed comes from Tony Campolo). Thus the lyrics seem to suggest that the remedy to Pharisaical moralizing about homosexuality is greater attention to relieving human suffering.
I would suggest, however, that the best remedy to Pharisaical moralizing is the gospel. Just yesterday, I addressed a group of youth pastors and leaders about gender confusion in the culture. After I finished my talk, a youth leader came to me to ask about how he should deal with a student under his care who is struggling with homosexual sin. Would it have made any sense at all in that moment to explain to the leader how much I’ve personally done to relieve world hunger (as important as that work is)? I think not.
What I did tell him is that the gospel of Jesus Christ is for everyone–including his student who experiences same-sex attraction. What this student needs more than anything is Jesus Christ, the One who was crucified and raised for sinners. For this student, following Jesus will involve (among other things) abstaining from sinful sexual desires (the moral status of which the leader must be clear about). Not to be forthright about this is to draw people away from Christ, not toward Him.
To be sure, Webb’s song is edgy, but in all the wrong ways. Christians cannot wait until world hunger ends before they sound a clear word about how Christ Jesus came to save sinners (including homosexual ones). I wish that Webb had concluded that “What Matters More” is the gospel. I think he missed it on this one.